It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Lobos, Again

We went diving at Lobos today, with Clinton and Anibal. When we first got there, we saw a coyote messing with a baby seal on the beach in Whaler's Cove. We don't know if the seal was already dead, or the coyote was attacking it. It was pretty gross, but interesting. The coyote got spooked and took off east across the beach. After he ran by at least 10 seals (adults and babies) slithered very quickly into the water, I guess they were afraid of him.

There were tons of seals in the cove. On the way out on the surface, there was a mother seal with a baby that kept appearing near us. They were adorable, they kept rubbing their faces against each other like they were nuzzling. The baby was totally cute, I want a pet baby seal. We planned to head to Three Sisters, but we seem to be cursed in some way that precludes us from ever actually making it back there. We headed out that way, past Hole in the Wall, the Lone Metridium, and Cannery Point Wall. We spent a bunch of time on the way out taking pictures of hydrocoral (Rob and Clinton took the pictures, Anibal and I were just hanging). I saw a beautiful Hilton's nudibranch, the biggest one I've seen. It was one of the prettiest nudibranchs I have ever seen. I also saw some other mystery nudibranch/flatworm which I will have to research. Other than that, it was pretty much the usual suspects. Saw a variety of rockfish (a China, I think, and several vermillion and copper). At some point, I pointed out to Rob that there were small blue rockfish all around us in the open water. It was very pretty. The vis was pretty standard for that area of Lobos -- probably around 25, but not chunky at all. It was also quite bright, so the water was a nice shade of teal.

By about 40 minutes into the dive, I was freezing, and I thought it was pretty unlikely we were going to make it to the Three Sisters before I got freezinger and had to turn the dive. Meanwhile, we were not really sure how much further it was to get out there (Anibal usually takes a different route there). Since at least one other person (I don't really remember who) also was very cold, we turned the dive there. So no sisters for us today :( On the way back in, we entered a very dark area -- it got dark very suddenly. We were in a lush kelp forest, when I looked up I could see that the kelp on the surface was like a canopy and letting barely any light in except for the occasional very bright ray of light filtering through. It was awesome, swimming into a dark forest like that. On the way in, we saw Dionna and Mark scootering along in the sand channel. Actually Rob started to swim towards them because he momentarily thought they were Clinton and Anibal -- too many doubles in the water today.

When we got back to the ramp, Rob and I went down to look for the monkey-faced eel. While I was still working on deploying my light, Rob signalled me that he had found him. Woohoo! We checked him out for a few minutes, and Rob fed him some seaweed. I tried to, but from my position I just could not quite reach (without planting my tank valves in the rock above him). Rob got some pictures (see above). 67 ft max, 41 ft avg, 75 minutes, 48 degrees (brrr)

The tide was quite low today, not the lowest I've seen at the ramp, but maybe tied for second. Luckily, the ramp was just pressure washed this past week. So it was not slippery at all on the walk down it. Then Rob started to walk down the drop off (which was slippery), and he fell! He made the mistake of putting his hand down to catch himself so he fell on his wrist :( If he had worse situational awareness, like me, he would have been completely caught by surprise and would have just fallen on his butt/tanks. That is definitely the preferred way to fall on the Lobos ramp, as I recently found out. Anyhoo, after he fell, I stood there like a doe in the headlights (well, I asked several times if he was okay), until Mark helped him up. He sort of walked him into the water and then did the same for me. I walked down the dropoff a little and then just sort of flopped in -- kind of fun. I told Rob now we are even, we've both fallen once. Getting out was equally unfun, but luckily Dionna was loitering in her drysuit and gave me a hand up past the slippery part.

I had a bit of a leak in my drysuit, so I was pretty chilly. Not a leak really, but some water seeped in the neck. Just when I was thinking I was really getting cold, I turned my head to make sure Anibal was still there, and I felt a huge trickle of water down my neck. Brrr. So I passed on a second dive, since I was still pretty chilly afterwards. Rob and Clinton went back out, but it was a pretty short dive due to "dry"suit problems.

Yesterday, Rob went scootering with Ben at the breakwater. He saw some cool stuff, so I feel compelled to report it, even though it isn't my dive to report. First, he saw his new pet fringehead, on the way out to the barge, in exactly the same place he found him last time. Clinton says that there was a sarcastic fringehead pretty consistently in that same pipe a few years ago... wonder if it's the same one or a new guy took up his residence. Second, he found an orange Metridium. I found one once before, last summer. At the time (right after the dive), I swore I could take us back to it, but about a day later I realized that probably was not as easy to do as I thought. So I haven't made a serious attempt to find it since. Rob claims he can take us back to this once, but we'll see :) He also saw tons of rainbow nudibranchs, and a sea otter underwater (his first U/W sea otter, but I'm not jealous since I've already seen one).

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